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October 14, 2009

Arnold Schoenberg Subject of Lecture on Oct. 28

The Music Division of the Library of Congress and the American Musicological Society, in joint partnership, will present the fourth in a series of lectures highlighting musicological research conducted in the division’s collections.

Walter Frisch will discuss "Arnold Schoenberg's Creative Journey, 1897-1912" at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 28 in the Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., S.E. Washington, D.C.

The lecture is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

Arnold Schoenberg’s extraordinary development as a composer can be viewed over a 15-year period from 1897 to 1912—a period framed by his early string quartet in D major and the melodramas of Pierrot Lunaire. Schoenberg went from being little known outside a small circle in Vienna to gaining wide recognition across Europe, and even beyond, as a leading musical modernist. Between 1897 and 1912, his work underwent profound transformations: from a style based firmly in that of Brahms to more complex treatment of form, counterpoint, and chromatic harmony that owes much to Wagner and Mahler; and then to an intuitively developed atonality and a novel method of text-setting that would provide important models for other 20th-century composers.

The lecture will draw on correspondence and on autograph musical sources held at the Library, including manuscripts of the first three string quartets (D-Major, op. 7 and op. 10); the sextet Verklärte Nacht, op. 4; and Pierrot Lunaire, op. 21.

Frisch is H. Harold Gumm/Harry and Albert von Tilzer Professor of Music at Columbia University in New York, where he has taught since 1982. He is a specialist in the music of composers from the Austro-German sphere in the 19th and 20th centuries, ranging from Schubert to Schoenberg. His publications on Schoenberg include the book "The Early Works of Arnold Schoenberg, 1893-1908" and the edited volume "Schoenberg and His World."

Previous lecturers in the series have included Annegret Fausher discussing 19th- and 20th-century French music, Judith Tick speaking on Ruth Crawford Seeger, and Jeffrey Magee presenting on Irving Berlin. Programs are available as Library webcasts at www.loc.gov/webcasts/.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

Schoenberg started donating his papers to the Library in the 1950s, and his family continued the donations in the early 1970s. In addition, the institution’s unparalleled music holdings include manuscripts of European masters such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms and those of American masters such as Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein and Charles Mingus. The Alan Lomax collection of field recordings of American roots music, Woody Guthrie’s original recordings and manuscripts, and one-of-a-kind recordings of bluesman Robert Johnson from the 1930s are also among the Library’s musical treasures. More information can be found at www.loc.gov/performingarts/.

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PR 09-206
10/14/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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